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George Hall named Georgia Defense Lawyers President-Elect

June 29, 2020

George Hall, a defense attorney for Hull Barrett Attorneys, has been named president-elect of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. He has been a member since 1988.

The 900-member Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is a statewide organization for lawyers who specialize in defense litigation. Last year, he served as the treasurer. Before that, he was the organization’s secretary and the editor of its journal.

Hall joined Hull Barrett in 1986 after completing law school at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in general civil defense litigation and is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

“The Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is great because it lets you meet and get exposure to lawyers from all over the state. I have made lots of referral relationships, but even more important, I have made a lot of good friends through the organization,” Hall said.

Originally from Red Springs, N.C., Hall and his wife, Margaret, live in Augusta and have two adult sons.

 

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Hull Barrett PC Welcomes Joan E. Smith

June 24, 2020

Hull Barrett PC is happy to welcome attorney Joan E. Smith.

Smith focuses her law practice on domestic litigation in the Aiken and Augusta areas. She actively practices in the Family Courts of Edgefield, Aiken and Barnwell counties in South Carolina, and the Superior Court and Juvenile Courts of Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia. She often litigates cases in McCormick County, S.C., and in Burke and McDuffie counties in Georgia.

Her domestic litigation practice includes actions for divorce and post-divorce issues of custody, child support, alimony and equitable division; the legitimation of children born out of wedlock, termination of parental rights and adoption; appellate work in both states concerning all of these issues, and frequent UCCJEA jurisdictional disputes between a parent in Georgia or South Carolina and a parent in another state.

Before joining the firm, Smith was a partner at Mirshak and Smith LLC, Law Firm for 20 years, litigating domestic cases in Georgia and South Carolina.

A native of Oklahoma City, Smith earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, a Bachelor of Arts in French and a minor in Political Science from Oklahoma State University.

Smith is a member of the Aiken County Bar, the Augusta Family Law Bar, the Augusta Bar Foundation Inc., and the Augusta Bar Association, where she previously served on the Executive Committee. She served as the judicial advisor for the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority at Augusta University.

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Guidance for Reviving a Healthy Georgia in Response to COVID-19

May 13, 2020

Although the “Shelter in Place” order for those who are 65 years of age or older, living in a nursing home, severely obese, or have compromised immune system, has been extended until June 12, 2020, many businesses are now permitted to open their doors to patrons, provided that such businesses implement measures to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19 among its patrons and workforce.

Among other things, and subject to mandated mitigation measures, restaurants and dining rooms are permitted to resume providing dine-in services; businesses that are not Critical Infrastructure are permitted to continue in-person operations; gyms and fitness centers are permitted to allow customers; body art studios, massage therapists, and tanning facilities are permitted to provide services by appointment; and bowling alleys, indoor movie theaters and cinemas are permitted open.

Before any business opens its doors to customers or patrons, it is critical that the business and its work force has a full understanding of the measures it must take to mitigate exposure and spread of the virus.

Under Georgia law, businesses may find themselves liable to members of the public if those businesses fail to exercise ordinary care in keeping their premises safe. The coronavirus pandemic raises questions as to what actions are required by businesses to protect their customers, and what degree of exposure businesses face in the event a customer claims to have contracted the virus upon the business premises. In this constantly evolving health crisis, it can be expected that lawsuits will be initiated against businesses for failing to implement procedural safeguards to protect customers from contracting the virus.

Businesses should take reasonably practical precautions to limit their customers’ exposure to the virus. These precautions include mitigation strategies published by the CDC and Governor Kemp. Specific industries, including restaurants and barber shops, are subject to additional safety requirements. As Georgia businesses reopen their doors to customers, businesses should be proactive in educating their employees and customers about proper hygiene and how to reduce spread. Most importantly, these businesses should pay close attention to future orders.

Businesses must also be careful as their employees return to the workplace from furloughs or quarantines. On the one hand, employees who show signs of illness, particularly fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should not be permitted to return to work. On the other hand, issues of privacy and the requirements of federal law limit an employer’s right to ask an employee about his or her health.

As we continue to monitor the pandemic, Hull Barrett, PC attorneys are working to stay current on developments and counsel clients through various legal and business issues that may arise.

If you have any questions about how your business can mitigate liability during this reopening phase, please contact Tom Cathey (tcathey@hullbarrett.com), Ben Dinges (bdinges@hullbarrett.com), or any other litigation attorney at Hull Barrett, PC (706-722-4481).

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Supreme Court holds that Government agencies have the discretion to produce most open records exempted documents

February 19, 2020

In the case of Campaign for Accountability v. Board of Regents, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on June 18, 2018.  This was a case in which the sponsor of a professor’s academic research at Kennesaw University sued to prohibit disclosure of documents between the University researcher and the sponsor of the research that had to do with the effects of payday loans on the financial health of consumers.  The requester of the background records obviously wanted to see if the professor’s research was swayed because it was financed by the payday loan industry.

The Georgia Court of Appeals sided with the Consumer Credit Research Foundation that sponsored the professor’s research.  The Court of Appeals held that an agency could not release documents covered by an Open Records Act exemption.

However, the Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeals’ interpretation was wrong.  The language that precedes the 50 enumerated exceptions under O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a) states as follows:  “Public disclosure shall not be required for records that are [listed below].”  The Supreme Court rightly held that a common sense understanding is that not “requiring” records to be released is entirely different from “prohibiting” records from being released.

The Court correctly noted that some Open Records Act exemptions specifically state that the documents in question cannot be disclosed.  But for the great majority of the exemptions, an agency is free to permit disclosure of the requested records should it choose to do so.

David Hudson

GPA Counsel

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Hull Barrett Attorneys Selected in Best Lawyers

August 16, 2019

AUGUSTA, GA – Hull Barrett PC is proud to announce that thirteen of the firm’s attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 26th edition of Best Lawyers in America. Davis A. Dunaway was also selected as “Lawyer of The Year” for his work in insurance law. This award is made to only one attorney in a geographic region.

For more than 30 years, Best Lawyers has compiled its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting extensive peer review surveys in which leading lawyers evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that lawyer must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition. Lawyers are not permitted to pay to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

The following attorneys from Hull Barrett have been included in the 26th edition of Best Lawyers in America:

  • Neal W. Dickert (appellate practice, mediation)
  • William H. Tucker (real estate law)
  • Patrick J. Rice (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, medical malpractice law – defendants, personal injury litigation – defendants)
  • Davis A. Dunaway (commercial litigation, insurance law)
  • James B. Ellington (employment law – management, litigation – First Amendment, litigation – labor and employment)
  • Mark S. Burgreen (tax law)
  • Robert L. Buchanan Jr. (personal injury litigation-plaintiffs)
  • David E. Hudson (personal injury litigation – defendants , bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, first amendment law, litigation – construction, and first amendment – litigation)
  • Darren G. Meadows (environmental law)
  • Rand Hanna III (public finance law and real estate law)
  • Christopher A. Cosper (commercial litigation)
  • George R. Hall (legal malpractice law – defendants, litigation – insurance, personal injury litigation – defendants and professional malpractice law – defendants)
  • William J. Keogh III (commercial litigation and litigation – construction)

Established in 1916 in Augusta and in 1872 in Aiken, Hull Barrett PC serves the entire Central Savannah River Region and beyond. With 27 lawyers plus support staff, the firm aims to provide quality legal representation and service to its clients and the community.

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George Hall named Georgia Defense Lawyers Treasurer

July 12, 2019

George Hall, a defense attorney for Hull Barrett Attorneys, has been elected treasurer of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association. He has been a member since 1988.
The 900-member Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is a statewide organization for lawyers who specialize in defense litigation. As the treasurer, he is in charge of finances for the organization. In the past year, he was the organization’s secretary and the editor of its journal.
Hall joined Hull Barrett in 1986 after completing law school at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in general civil defense litigation and is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
“The Georgia Defense Lawyers Association is great because it lets you meet and get exposure to lawyers from all over the state. I have made lots of referral relationships, but even more important, I have made a lot of good friends through the organization,” Hall said.
Originally from Red Springs, N.C., Hall and his wife, Margaret, live in Augusta and have two adult sons.

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Questions to Ask When You Need a Real Estate Attorney

April 4, 2019

According to Georgia law, a residential real estate closing must be conducted by a licensed real estate attorney in Augusta GA. Several Augusta lawyers at Hull Barrett Attorneys specialize in real estate, including commercial acquisitions, land development, eminent domain and residential real estate. Your Georgia real estate attorney can draft contracts properly with limited financial risk to ensure correct property rights are granted and to make sure that all parties are in compliance with the ever-changing federal and state regulations.

Hull Barrett’s real estate attorneys practice in areas of the law associated with tangible aspects of the land – agriculture, contamination, minerals, structures – and the intangible – zoning, access, interests and air space. Your Hull Barrett real estate attorney in Augusta GA represents clients in a variety of commercial and residential real estate matters, including: home purchases and sales, residential financing, land acquisition, foreclosures and much more.

When the time comes to hire a Georgia real estate attorney, you want to make sure you are hiring the best, of course. Here are five questions to ask when hiring a real estate attorney in Augusta GA.

  1. Have you handled cases similar to mine? All real estate matters certainly are not created equally. A Georgia real estate attorney who has worked similar cases will be able to anticipate potential problems and take care of them. Hull Barrett’s many estate attorneys have experience in all aspects of real estate law and will be able to effectively handle your case.
  2. How will you handle my case? Your attorney’s plan of action should be no secret. In fact, asking this question can help you determine whether your chosen attorney is the right one for your case. Ambiguous answers – “Don’t worry about it.” – can mean your attorney doesn’t know what to do or doesn’t have a plan. Clear, concise answers are the signs of a competent, experienced attorney.
  3. What is the fee schedule? Knowing how your attorney will bill you helps you avoid financial surprises. Simple matters, such as drafting a document, usually are billed by the project. Real estate matters that involve negotiations or going to court are generally billed by the hour.
  4. Will you provide references? Talking to a real estate attorney in Augusta GA will go a long way in helping you choose the right person for your situation. Take that one step further, though, and talk to people your prospective Georgia real estate attorney has helped. It’s safe to say that an attorney who refuses to give references is probably hiding something. Hull Barrett Attorneys are proud of our work and are happy to supply references.
  5. How much do you know about local laws? Not all attorneys who practice in Georgia have experience in local laws. Atlanta lawyers, for example, might be best suited to help you there, but how much do they know about Richmond County or Hephzibah? Hull Barrett’s Augusta lawyers live and practice here, so we have years of experience working with local real estate laws.
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Congratulations!

October 29, 2018

Congratulations to Ben R. Dinges and Jordan T. Bell for passing the South Carolina Bar Exam!

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ROBERT L. BUCHANAN, JR. HAS JOINED HULL BARRETT, PC

September 6, 2018

Hull Barrett, PC is pleased to announce that Robert L. Buchanan, Jr. has joined the firm and has moved his law practice to the firm’s Aiken office.  He will continue to practice in the areas of civil litigation, including personal injury litigation, business litigation, probate and estate litigation, real estate litigation, as well as corporate governance and transactions.

A native of Aiken, Mr. Buchanan is a 1973 graduate of Erskine College and a 1976 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.   Following graduation and his being admitted to the South Carolina Bar, Mr. Buchanan returned to Aiken and joined the former firm of Williams & Johnson.  He later formed Buchanan Law Office, PA where he has continued to practice until joining the Hull Barrett firm.  He has served as a part-time federal Magistrate Judge for the District Courts of South Carolina since 1979.    He is named in the Best Lawyers in America and holds the AV Preeminent Judicial rating by Martindale Hubbell.

Mr. Buchanan is an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Aiken where he has served as a Ruling Elder, Deacon, Trustee, and Church School teacher.  He is a former youth sports coach in the community.  He and his wife, Tookie, are the parents of three adult children, all of whom are living in Aiken.  They have four grandchildren.

Hull Barrett, PC, founded in 1872 in Aiken and 1916 in Augusta, provides a full range of legal services to its clients through its offices in Aiken, Augusta, and Evans.

Dated: August 29, 2018

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Mitch Snyder selected to Leadership Augusta – Class of 2019

July 26, 2018

Mitch Snyder has been selected to Leadership Augusta, Class of 2019.

Leadership Augusta is a program of the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce. The mission of Leadership Augusta is to inform and inspire existing and emerging leaders of the greater Augusta area to build a stronger community. It’s vision is to  recognize the power that trusted relationships between community leaders bring to the region. They believe in cultivating leaders who will build upon those relationships, collaborate across cultural and economic boundaries, and develop innovative ways for the greater metro Augusta area to thrive, socially and economically.  Congratulations Mitch – we sure know you are a great asset to this team.

Read more about them here: https://www.leadershipaugustaga.com/

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Augusta, Georgia

SunTrust Bank Building (7th Floor)
801 Broad Street Augusta, GA 30901
Office: 706.722.4481 | Fax: 706.722.9779
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

Aiken, South Carolina

111 Park Avenue, S.W.
Aiken, SC 29801
Office: 803.648.4213 | Fax: 803.648.2601
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

Evans, Georgia

7004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809 3rd Floor
Office: 706.722.4481 | Fax: 706.650.0925
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

Augusta, Georgia

SunTrust Bank Building (7th Floor)
801 Broad Street Augusta, GA 30901
Office: 706.722.4481 | Fax: 706.722.9779
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

Aiken, South Carolina

111 Park Avenue, S.W.
Aiken, SC 29801
Office: 803.648.4213 | Fax: 803.648.2601
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

Evans, Georgia

7004 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Evans, GA 30809 3rd Floor
Office: 706.722.4481 | Fax: 706.650.0925
Hours: 9:00am-5:30pm

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Our Mission: Hull Barrett, PC aspires to become THE choice law firm of the CSRA and throughout Georgia and South Carolina, by exhibiting its reputation for integrity and professionalism through client services, personal relationships and dedication to the community and by generating successful outcomes.